The Stream, January 15: Chile Asked to Balance Mining and the Environment

South America
More than $US 40 billion worth of mining projects have been blocked or delayed in Chile, creating a bottleneck for foreign investment that the country’s national mining association has asked the incoming government to address, Reuters reported. Many of the mining projects, including the Pascua-Lama gold mine, have been put on hold due to concerns about water use and pollution.

A unique resettlement program for communities displaced by Brazil’s Itaparica dam in the 1980s has provided improved farming opportunities for some families, but others are still awaiting compensation, Inter Press Service reported. The program is unlikely to be used again to resettle other displaced families because it has so far cost more than 85 percent of the amount of the dam’s construction price.

Water Supply
China is planning to start industrial production of fresh water from desalinated sea ice in northern regions of the country, Xinhua reported. After 18 years of research and development, the technology has been transferred to a company that says it will produce at least 1 billion cubic meters of fresh water each year by 2023.

Natural Disasters
A category five cyclone has left some communities in Tonga almost completely destroyed, creating serious concern about water supplies and sanitation, Reuters reported. Aid agencies are especially worried about the spread of waterborne diseases in places where 80 to 90 percent of homes were lost.

A spending bill making its way through the United States Congress could delay increases in flood insurance premiums for homeowners that live in the most flood-prone areas, NBC News reported. The bill would delay the implementation of parts of the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act, which aims to get the National Flood Insurance Program out of debt, until October 2015.

The Stream is a daily digest spotting global water trends. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

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